Thursday, January 10th Commentary
If you have kids in public schools, the elementary teachers union has called for a day of protest tomorrow. The high school teachers union wnats to do the same thing next Wednesday.
Premier Dalton McGuinty says protest all you want but not when kids are supposed to be in school.
Government lawyers will go the the Ontario Labour Relations Board this morning seeking orders to prevent both walkouts. It's not clear if there is enough time to get an order to stop tomorrow's protest but if the board rules these to be illegal strikes, the order could be made retroactively. Penalties under the Labour Relations Act range from fines of $2,000 a day for each teachers, $25-thousand-a-day for the union.
Amber Gero's Report
To be clear, not all public elementary school teachers will walk off the job tomorrow. Some will simply refuse. Most school boards will welcome those teachers tomorrow, come in and mark papers or catch-up on paperwork but the schools won't be open to kids because the school can't guarantee their safety, that's IF there's no quasi-judicial order to ban the walkout.
We are getting some information, not yet confirmed, that tomorrow's planned protest may only last for two hours, not the whole day. We're hearing the teachers will be in class at 9 a.m. but walkout at 9:30 until 11:30 and then return to class. We are checking on that. In the meantime: I would again implore teachers to keep teaching, protest before school, after school, on the weekends, all you want, because everytime you jerk around parents and their kids, they get angrier and angrier.
When this all started you had a fair number of people backing you, because the government has, in my view, gone too far. Let this play out out in court. Your union has filed the case already. A legal victory would be the biggest win of all. Besides we have a lame-duck Premier right now. McGuinty will be gone after January 26th and there will be a new Premier and Liberal leader and that leader will be kissing your backside to get you back in the Liberal column heading towards an election.
When the director of the Toronto public school system stood before reporters last evening he was visibly shaken.
A few hours earlier, Doctor Chris Spence admitted to plagiarism in an opinion piece he wrote in the Toronto Star, recently regarding the importance of extra-curricular activity in schools.
The board is expected to announce today when it will meet with Spence, but another shoe has dropped in this scandal.
The National Post is reporting this morning that it has found more instances where it appears Spence plagiarized, including newspaper pieces on the Newtown massacre; the Danzig Street shootings and a blog about the education system in China.
No response yet from the director. I would think that as a man of honour, Doctor Spence, should, at the very least, offer his resignation and leave it up to the board to decide whether to accept it or not.
FORD PHOTO RADAR
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair's musings about getting photo radar on city streets and expand the red light cameras so they can nab motorists who make illegal turns seems to be going nowhere.
Mayor Rob Ford, for example, says he's against it because taxpayers are against it. In Ford's words "the people don't support it, the taxpayer's don't support it, I don't support it." Again in the Mayor's words, "people don't want to have these tickets everytime they go through an intersection. It costs a lot of money at the end of the day."
What the hell is Ford talking about "people don't want to have these tickets everytime they go through an intersection." Here's a solution, don't go through the intersection on a red. That's what the law is there for. It's public safety. There are days when I think Rob Ford is the most clueless person on the planet and now he seems to be taking a new tact in his bid to get re-elected or re-appointed or whatever is going to happen to him; Ford basically admitting that he'll do whatever taxpayers want. Mr. Ford, being mayor means showing leadership, not following blindly like a sheep going to slaughter.